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Addon Spotlight: Weak Auras, getting started and strings


Weak Auras is a really incredibly powerful addon, enabling users to create custom alerts for pretty much anything they want to see. However, like many very powerful addons, it can be a little daunting, and there's an awful lot going on. Unlike several other very powerful addons, a user guide also exists, that walks you through the basic starting point of Weak Auras, creating your first display. But, it's missing a few bits. While I use it a lot, I am far from an advanced user, given some of the things I've seen people create with this addon, so I'm going to keep it basic, and I'm also going to hopefully, with your help, start a useful set of Weak Auras strings!

Weak Auras, when created, can be imported and exported as what are called strings. These, essentially, are huge text files full of mumbo jumbo that can be translated by Weak Auras into displays. When I first got started with Weak Auras, a while back, I found that the easiest way for me to learn to use it was to start with an existing aura and go from there.

We've collected some of our favorite Weak Auras strings, and published them for each class (and some general ones) on their own page:

Please feel free to email additional strings to, I'd really like to create a compendium!

Creating a display

This is really the best way to get to know Weak Auras, so it's logical to start here. First, you want to work out exactly what you're after from your display. Do you want an animated display, some text, or just an icon? Maybe a progress bar? A numerical timer? Some text? Or just a pretty picture that appears and disappears? Pick whichever sounds good to you from the list, but I'd say avoid groups for now, they're rather more complicated than the basic displays!

Let's assume for now that you want a display to appear when your mindbender is available. We're going to start with this fairly light one, then try a trickier one! The strings for both these displays are below, too. Type /wa into your chat, and pick a texture. You'll see the window below, the first thing I do is name them, the name on the left is for your reference only, so you can call it whatever you like!

Addon Spotlight Weak Auras strings, and getting started with this powerful addon
Then head over to the right-hand panel, you'll see that "Display" is the active tab, this is where you figure out what you want to see on the screen when your Mindbender is available. Hit "Choose" and you'll be taken to the texture menu. This choice is purely up to you, there's really not anything to worry about here, so pick a texture that makes you think of your mindbender! I went for a purple-y one. He's purple, after all! This screen allows you to make various adjustments to how your display appears, and you can drag it around the screen too. I'd suggest just playing with this, it's all pretty self-explanatory!

Triggering your display

This is the important part, we're now going to move one tab over to the right, to "Trigger". As the name suggests, this is what makes your display appear, so we want that to be when the Mindbender is ready to do his thing.
Addon Spotlight Weak Auras strings, and getting started with this powerful addon
There's always one trigger in there, so "Add Trigger" is only when you want to check for two conditions, so, for example, I have one on my mage which checks that a) Ice Barrier is off cooldown, and b) that I don't have Ice Barrier up on myself. It then tells me to reapply it, and probably calls me a noob.

For our Mindbender aura, so it's a matter of choosing the right type. I could rattle through the different things that each type can do in full, but it'd take forever, so for now, the very basic run-down is this. "Aura" triggers check for buffs, debuffs on players and other units, including groups etc. "Custom", well, that's for clever folk who code their own. "Event" is for when something happens, a chat message, a combat log event like a spell cast, a cooldown being ready, and "Status" is when something is the case, such as "I have five stacks of Holy Power!", "My Ice Barrier is/isn't on cooldown", or "My enchant proc is up".

The Mindbender coming off cooldown is an Event, so that's what we're after.
Addon Spotlight Weak Auras strings, and getting started with this powerful addon
Above is the completed trigger screen, you can see that I've selected "Cooldown Ready (Spell)", because the Mindbender is not an item, I've entered the Spell into the relevant box. I actually used the Spell ID, as ElvUI provides those on the tooltip -- if there's lots of spells with the same name that can be a better move. They're also available on Wowhead. Weakauras knows what the ID means, so pops the spell in there.

Now, whenever the Mindbender comes off cooldown, this aura will show. But it won't re-hide when it goes back onto cooldown, i.e. when we use it. There are a few solutions. One is to set the Hide, at the bottom of the above screenshot, to ten seconds, assuming that we will have used it before that time is up. But it wouldn't disappear when we do use it!

So, we can add another trigger, to check when it's on cooldown. This would be a Status. Add another trigger, and select Status.
Addon Spotlight Weak Auras strings, and getting started with this powerful addon
It's cooldown progress we're after, in the Status list. It's actually very straightforward to set this up, we only want the display to show when the Mindbender isn't on cooldown. We don't want it to show at some point in the progress of the cooldown, such as a few seconds before the end, so we just input the spell ID or name, and check Inverse.

We're done! Our Mindbender aura will now show when he's off cooldown, and hide when we use him! If you head over to the Actions tab, you can also select a sound to play on show, i.e. when he's ready, and/or on hide, i.e. when he's used. It's a bit of a mind melter, sometimes, working these triggers out, so don't be discouraged. And the aura won't work until you've activated the thing it's scanning for, so try it before getting frustrated! Basically, assume opening the options will break it.

When you want your display to appear

We're done with the trigger. Now we want to set up when our display is on or off. Head over to the "Load" tab.
Addon Spotlight Weak Auras strings, and getting started with this powerful addon
These are fairly self-explanatory. Want it to only load when you're in combat? Check the In Combat box. Do note, though, that if you're chilling out in a city testing this and don't keep yourself in combat, it won't load! You haven't broken it! Players who aren't priests don't have Mindbenders, so let's make sure it's only loading on priests. Mindbenders aren't specific to a specialization, so we'll leave that one out, but they are a specific talent, so let's make sure anyone it loads for actually has a Mindbender to use. There are other criteria, too, but that'll do for now, have a play with them!

Importing Strings

I mentioned earlier how one great way to learn how Weak Auras works is to import strings. So, briefly, how do you do that? Very simply: Click New, then Import, and paste the text into the box. This will make a small popup appear on your screen, with an Import button. Click Import. Profit! You can now edit the display according to your desires!

But where do you go to get your Weak Auras strings? There's various places online, and several bloggers put them up on their blogs. Hit up the class list above to find some as well. Be sure to check back! We're going to be adding to the list as time goes on.

Addons are what we do on Addon Spotlight. If you're new to mods, Addons 101 will walk you through the basics; see what other players are doing at Reader UI of the Week. If there's a mod you think Addon Spotlight should take a look at, email

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